by Dave Spahn / @davespahn
The state of Indiana runs its basketball playoffs in a relatively odd way. Not only does the IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association) not seed the teams based on regular-season records, the first-round matchups are a blind draw. So in theory, the IHSAA could have a scheduling nightmare on its hands if the top-two teams in the state are in the same regional and draw each other in the first round.
Well, you guessed it, arguably the number one and number two teams in the state of Indiana drew each other in the very first round of the tournament. Winner moves on, loser packs their bags. One of the two best teams in the entire state will be out of the playoffs. After the first round of games. Before March 1.
In a game sporting a state championship-esque atmosphere with a sold-out crowd of over 4,000 fans (a parent in attendance told me he saw people scalping tickets. Yes, this is a high school game. Only in Indiana…), Michigan State commit Gary Harris sealed his fate in the Indiana record books and positioned himself nicely with the Indiana Mr. Basketball voters with a half-court buzzer beater to put Hamilton Southeastern over North Central, 86-83. Harris finished with a game high 34 points, 31 of which came after halftime. Jacobby Bledsoe added 21 for Hamilton Southeastern, and Iowa commit Patrick Ingram netted 21 to lead North Central.
As his future Spartans fell to Indiana, the in-state school almost every person in his hometown adores, his shot made its way to the No. 1 play on SportsCenter. “Gary Harris” became a trending topic throughout the United States on Twitter. Think this kid is on cloud nine right about now? I’d say so…